Moving a grappled target


Rules Discussion


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If I have a player whose grappled a target and now wants to move/drag them out of the room, how do I resolve this? Rules say that the PC loses their grip if they move. Note, they specifically don’t want to shove or trip them.


I have not found any rule for this. I think that Shove is the best you can do by RAW.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, that’s what it seems like to me too, but certainly there should be a way to Grapple someone and then move them. You’re right about Shoving, but its not what the PC wanted to do. This week, I just cut the PC’s movement by 2/3 (like Greater Difficult Terrain), but I realize this is a very 5e solution.


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They might add more maneuvers in the APG when that eventually drops. I think Drag and Reposition weren't in base Pathfinder, either.


I think there is a general note somewhere saying effects that forcible move someone generally require a check against fortitude DC, so my call as a GM is to have the PC do an athletics check v. fortitude allowing them to drag up to their speed but treating each square as greater difficult terrain, with a critical success treating as difficult terrain instead. Requires having them grabbed but no MAP.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Paradozen wrote:
I think there is a general note somewhere saying effects that forcible move someone generally require a check against fortitude DC, so my call as a GM is to have the PC do an athletics check v. fortitude allowing them to drag up to their speed but treating each square as greater difficult terrain, with a critical success treating as difficult terrain instead. Requires having them grabbed but no MAP.

Yeah. That’s where I ended up mechanically speaking. Once the PC Grappled their target, I allowed them to move it like they were moving through Greater Difficult Terrain.

When you resolved this, did you treat it as 2 actions? One to Grapple and another to move? If so, did you have your PCs do 2 rolls? Or did you just combine it into a single check?


JamesMaster wrote:
Paradozen wrote:
I think there is a general note somewhere saying effects that forcible move someone generally require a check against fortitude DC, so my call as a GM is to have the PC do an athletics check v. fortitude allowing them to drag up to their speed but treating each square as greater difficult terrain, with a critical success treating as difficult terrain instead. Requires having them grabbed but no MAP.

Yeah. That’s where I ended up mechanically speaking. Once the PC Grappled their target, I allowed them to move it like they were moving through Greater Difficult Terrain.

When you resolved this, did you treat it as 2 actions? One to Grapple and another to move? If so, did you have your PCs do 2 rolls? Or did you just combine it into a single check?

Haven't tried it, to be clear, but my call would be 2 rolls, one to grab and one to move and the move check would have no MAP and on a crit success treat terrain as merely difficult rather than greater difficult.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I agree. Two actions feels right. Its one thing to grab someone, and another to move them. Think I’d also have a failure meaning no movement and a critical failure meaning the target gets free.

Strictly speaking, the move should have a MAP, right, like a Shove. But I understand the logic.

Thanks.


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You have to keep in mind that "grapple" condition is nowhere near to having someone under your control.

At most is trying to hold him in place without even fully limiting his limb movement.

It's more "I've grabbed his clothes" and less "I've gotten him under a solid martial pin"

Moving someone you "merely grab" and he's obviously both struggling against you AND has almost free range of motions and attacks, is pretty much trying to push him alongside you.

So that would be a Shove. He's still restricted (not the condition) from your grab, giving him the flat footed condition, but it's pretty much an attack.

Imo you need to have someone Restrained (so crit success on the grapple) to move him without a normal Shove.


This sounds like a great ruling, thanks! Would you require the same actions and roll checks vs Fort against a willing target or an unconscious or paralyzed one? My group has played 6 times already and in 2 or 3 sessions already we have encountered pulling and repositioning questions with no clear CRB answer. One player ran out of breath underwater and the others wanted to grab and pull him out to the surface. Another player got paralyzed by a ghoul and someone wanted to drag him back out of melee range. And in a third case players tied ropes on each other and wanted to pull each other back to safety or up to a ledge after falling. How would you handle the action economy and move speeds here? Underwater had extra difficult terrain since water already slows you down. In this case it was still water so I didn't require Athletics to move.


Quietpaw wrote:
This sounds like a great ruling, thanks! Would you require the same actions and roll checks vs Fort against a willing target or an unconscious or paralyzed one? My group has played 6 times already and in 2 or 3 sessions already we have encountered pulling and repositioning questions with no clear CRB answer. One player ran out of breath underwater and the others wanted to grab and pull him out to the surface. Another player got paralyzed by a ghoul and someone wanted to drag him back out of melee range. And in a third case players tied ropes on each other and wanted to pull each other back to safety or up to a ledge after falling. How would you handle the action economy and move speeds here? Underwater had extra difficult terrain since water already slows you down. In this case it was still water so I didn't require Athletics to move.

Reposition hasn't come up on any of my sessions.

as a quick guess, since i haven't thought about it:

Paralyzed: Like dragging a 6 bulk "weight", more if he has a lot of bulk/armor on him. He's not resisting, he's just heavy.

Underwater drowning: Probably normal shove. eYou'd still need to beat a Fort DC (drowning victims sadly do try to pull you under/resist strictly due to reflex) AND i would probably rule for something like "crit fail makes THEM grapple you down"

Ledge falling: oof... i'd say "follow the leader exploration activity" but the thing is, if someone does fall, and the rope is not tightly pinned on the wall itself, it might provoke saving throws from the rest to not get dragged down instead. On the other hand, an "expert climber" would probably secure his rope to the surface unless for some reason he explicitly doesn't want to do so (he wants to pull the rope back up as an example)


shroudb wrote:

You have to keep in mind that "grapple" condition is nowhere near to having someone under your control.

At most is trying to hold him in place without even fully limiting his limb movement.

It's more "I've grabbed his clothes" and less "I've gotten him under a solid martial pin"

Moving someone you "merely grab" and he's obviously both struggling against you AND has almost free range of motions and attacks, is pretty much trying to push him alongside you.

So that would be a Shove. He's still restricted (not the condition) from your grab, giving him the flat footed condition, but it's pretty much an attack.

Imo you need to have someone Restrained (so crit success on the grapple) to move him without a normal Shove.

This sounds right to me, but with the asterisk that I'd allow a "Shove" check to be done to pull someone rather than just push. But I'd otherwise use the Shove rules as written, including the distances moved on a success or critical success.

That's not RAW, but it seems like a reasonable house rule.


Thanks! I took another look at dragging and that could work better than I originally thought.

I'm actually thinking that Shove is required for paralyzed friends, as they are still standing up.

And Unconscious friends in normal situations is a Drag, since they're prone. Underwater could be either Drag or Shove... maybe it depends on whether my player says she wants to pull rather than push? I completely forgot to cause the unconscious person to sink 10ft on his turn (Swim rules if you don't move). There's something interesting there to figure out too. If the Dragger has a grip on the unconscious player does it stop this sinking effect? Perhaps a Fort save is required?

Pulling up a rope with a player tied on could be a Drag where the player weighs full bulk instead of half.

Do you think starting a Drag action requires a Grab action first, when in combat?


Quietpaw wrote:
If the Dragger has a grip on the unconscious player does it stop this sinking effect?

As long as the dragger has enough Strength to carry/drag all their own stuff plus the unconscious body and its stuff, it shouldn't sink.

Quietpaw wrote:
Do you think starting a Drag action requires a Grab action first, when in combat?

It should take an action to get hold of them, but I'd say that's an Interact, rather than a Grapple, for someone unconscious. In case it matters.


Makes sense, I agree! Thanks!


I had a monk PC climb a cliff, up to a kobold that was on the edge shooting down. He wanted to yank him off. I ruled that was a Grab and a Shove. He made the grab but missed the shove; the rogue immediately killed the flat-footed kobold with a shortbow. Everyone seemed content with that.

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